Wednesday, March 31, 2010

On Process: Waiting for Workshop

Fact: workshop causes anxiety.

Anytime you create something then ask people for their honest opinions, a certain amount of anxiety is involved. As you repeat this process again and again the amount of the anxiety diminishes but it never fully goes away.

It might reduce down to such a low level that you can look people in the eye and say I'm not worried, and you might be putting up a good front or you might honestly believe that you have no fear because the anxiety about workshop is so minimal that it has fused with the regular anxieties of day-to-day life: did I turn off the oven? Am I going to have clean underwear for tomorrow? Did anyone walk the dog before we left?

Then, if you're me, after you've reduced your workshop-anxiety down to the level of clean-laundry-anxiety, you go and write something different from what you've written before. Because it is different you can't anticipate the reception it will be given at workshop (being able to anticipate made you able to not worry previously). You won't know if you are out of your comfort zone or workshop is out of its comfort zone because the whole thing has so many variables that it has blurred into one giant mess. You will then re-initiate the old process of waiting for workshop.

First -- after doing everything you can (within the time limit) to finish and polish your story -- you continued to work after the time limit to further finish and further polish your story. Took a deep breath. Shrugged. And sent it off.

In the days between submission and workshop you decided the story wasn't all that bad. Then decided it was pretty good. Then decided it was awful. Decided everyone would make little happy noises as they read it. Decided you were going to get pigeonholed by your choice of material and/or conflict. Decided you were going to get your ass handed to you. Imagined the things people would say as they handed you back your ass.

Next you decided that you wouldn't let them hurt you by declaring that you didn't like them before they could do damage. Decided that you should be more open minded. Tried to be positive and think the best of people ... but being positive made you feel like a fake.

Stopped thinking about everyone. Started thinking about a larger project. Built castle in the sky. Started construction on castle. Got side tracked. Made popcorn. Found this guy's book with sweet ass comics in it. Loved this guy's book with sweet ass comics in it. Read No. 11 and said Rah! Rah! Yeah!
11. Don't try to stand out from the crowd; avoid crowds altogether.
Then stopped. Couldn't figure out if you were avoiding or standing out. Went back. Reread. Worried.

Read No. 12. and forgot about No. 11.
12. If you accept the pain, it cannot hurt you.
You accepted the pain -- no, accepted the pain-yet-to-come. Rethought it. Decided acceptance was stupid. Rejected the pain-yet-to-come. Accepted it. Ate more popcorn. Kicked the cat out of the office because she kept trying to tip over your waterbottle. Sketched blueprints for castle. Wrote blog entry. Read blog. Read blog. Read more of guy's book. Read physical book. Went to bed. Stared at dark ceiling. Thought some more. Though negative thoughts phrased positively and wondered if that was enough to improve your Karma. You have rotten Karma lately. Thought about ways to improve your Karma and whether or not they could be done over the internet because you can't go anywhere tomorrow until you get a load of laundry done because you have no clean underwear for tomorrow.

Highly Recommended